Brukenthal National Museum
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SIBIU/HERMANNSTADT, ROMANIA
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Exhibition: The mysteries of the Romanian gusla
Researcher: Gauthier Saillard
Location: Brukenthal Palace
Duration: 7.03 – 7.04.2013
Opening: March 7, 3:00 pm
Curators: Alexandru Sonoc and Pierre Guiol
Partner: Ille et Vilaine’s friendship association (APIVS)
Text from Alexandru Sonoc, exhibition curator:
Brukenthal National Museum and Ille et Vilaine’s friendship association (APIVS) invite you to "The mysteries of the Romanian gusla” exhibition presenting the epopee of a young French instrument maker, specialized in medieval instruments, looking for clues of the vielle on the Romanian ground.
The second part of the middle ages (between 1000 and 1500 approximately) represents a key period in musical history and its instruments. In this times appeared the musical notation, the instrumental bow and the resurgence of secular music. These three facts changed the musical creation perspectives and, in doing so, transformed forever the shapes and making methods of musical instruments, establishing the first rules in instrument-making.
Researches has always been focalized on Western Europe, as the source of this cultural explosion; presenting obvious historical resources on the subject, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Great Britain focus the interest, leaving in shade the others countries of Europe.
Nevertheless, it’s in Romania that Gauthier Saillard, whose subject of research is on stringed instrument organological evolution during the Middle Ages, decided to realize this unusual project. Aware that the instruments follow the populations’ moves, being adopted and adapted by locals, it was indeed possible that frontier-countries of Europe would have lots of hidden valuable information on the subject. Romania, junction of cultures and civilizations then, seemed to be the ideal country for a start.   
Facing a tormented history and others obstacles which he didn’t consider, the 25 years old man went all over the country to find evidences of this instrument. Bucharest, Sibiu, Sighisoara, Voronet, and their surrounding are as many places in which Gauthier Saillard led his quest, looking through archives, libraries, museums and frescos of ancent buildings for enough elements allowing a reconstitution of this legendary instrument.
The Ille et Vilaine’s house of Sibiu, supporting the project, became its base. In the same way, the Brukenthal National Museum, believing in the success of that historical adventure, opened its archives doors to the researcher. With both their help, during October-December 2012, Gauthier Saillard finally made a vielle in APIVS house, inspired from an instrument hold by the museum.

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